Legends Ngugi, Kariuki keen to nurture youth

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019 06:03 |
Olympics legends Julius Kariuki (left) and John Ngugi addressing the public during the Mashujaa Day celebrations in Nyandarua on Sunday. PD/DAVID MACHARIA

 By David Macharia

Two Kenyan Olympics legends want the Nyandarua County government to task them with scouting for athletics talents in the area.

John Ngugi and Julius Kariuki said Nyandarua was once an athletics powerhouse and still has potential to produce world beaters if nurtured properly.

Ngugi won gold in 5,000 metrtes at the 1988 Olympic Games held in Seoul, South Korea. He also won the World Cross-Country title five times, four of them consecutively from 1986-1989.

Kariuki, meanwhile, won the 3,000 metres steeplechase gold at the Seoul Games before claiming another gold in the Commonwealth Games two years later over the distance. 

Although Nyandarua has over 60 former and present top athletes, only Ngugi and Kariuki were invited for this year’s Mashujaa Day celebrations held at Tumaini Primary school grounds in Ol Kalou Sub-County. 

“Weather and altitude in Nyandarua are favourable for athletics and that is why people from as far as North Rift come here to train,” said Kariuki, who runs a pharmacy in Mois’ Bridge, Uasin Gishu County. 

“Schools are full of talent and I am ready to help any time to tap and nurture talent so that another (Eliud) Kipchoge, John Ngugi and Julius Kariuki can come from here,” he added.

Ngugi, who lives in Ngong, Kajiado county felt honoured for being invited to grace the Mashujaa Day celebrations and now feels it is time to give back by mentoring the next generation. 

“Send us to schools to scout for talented people so that we can help them realise their dreams,” Ngugi told governor Kimemia.  Nyandarua is also home to the first Kenya woman to reach an Olympics final, Ruth Waithera, who made the 400m final at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

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